And kanji with manga
Monday, February 1, 2021

papa パパ

In Japanese, papa パパ means "dad," it's a affectionate way to refer to one's "father," and may also refer to one's "husband." It also means "daddy" as in a sugar daddy, an older man who pays a younger woman to date him.

Compared to other words that mean father, like otousan お父さん, papa is particularly common among little children. Older characters that use this word tend to be in amicable terms with their parents or just spoiled.

パパ おかえりー
Manga: Fullmetal Alchemist, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi 鋼の錬金術師 (Chapter 14, ひとりっ子の気持ち)

The female counterpart is mama ママ, "mom."

In many languages, "papa," "mama," "dada," "baba" and so on also mean father and mother, because those words are randomly babbled by babies, and parents simply decide such baby's first words should mean either father or mother.[Mama and papa - en.wikipedia.org, accessed 2021-02-01]

Given this, I'm not sure if the Japanese papa and mama are loan words or native words created through the process above.

Examples

For reference, some examples of the word papa:

・・・・・・・・・・・・ ピシャ・・・ 人間じゃね~~!! もしもしママ~~!?教室に入れないよ パパに代わって~~!!
Manga: Sakigake!! Cromartie Koukou 魁!!クロマティ高校 (Chapter 13, 野望の帝国)
  • Context: Hokuto Takeshi 北斗武士 changed schools and heard there's someone strong in his class, when he tries to enter, he's blocked by a gorilla.
  • ......
  • pisha...
    ピシャ・・・
    *sound effect for door closing*
  • ningen janee~~
    人間じゃねえ~~!!
    [He's] not human~~!
  • moshimoshi mama~~!? kyoushitsu ni hairenai yo, papa ni kawatte~~~~!
    もしもしママ~~!?教室に入れないよ パパに代わっ~~!!
    Hello, mom~~? [I] can't enter the classroom, [put] dad [on the phone]~~!
    • kawaru
      代わる
      To switch. (in this case, to switch who's talking on the phone.)

Husband

Like many words that mean "father" in Japanese, papa can also be used by the mama to refer to her "husband."

ほら・・・僕はママを運ぶので精一杯だからね・・・ たくましいわ、パパ・・・ もう一度言うぞ、自分で運べ
Manga: Saiki Kusuo no Psi-Nan, 斉木楠雄のΨ難 (Chapter 9, 斉木家Ψ難!!劇的大改造!!)
  • Context: Kusuo's father, Kuniharu 國春, and mother, Kurumi 久留美, had had a fight and were living in separate rooms. Now, they're back together, so Kuniharu asks Kusuo, who has the power of psychokinesis, to carry the furniture from his room to Kurumi's room, saying that he can't do it himself because he'll be busy carrying something else.
  • hora... boku wa {mama wo hakobu} no de sei-ippai dakara ne...
    ほら・・・はママを運ぶので精一杯だから・・・
    Look... [it takes my all just] {to carry mom}, [you see]...
    • Mom = my son's mom = my wife.
    • sei-ippai
      精一杯
      Taking all of one's efforts.
  • takumashii wa, papa...
    たくましいパパ・・・
    [You're so] strong, dad...
    • Dad = my son's dad = my husband.
  • mou ichido iu zo, jibun de hakobe
    もう一度言う、自分で運べ
    [I] will say [it] again, carry [it] yourself.

Sugar Daddy

The word papa in Japanese can also refer to a sugar "daddy," who's an older man that pays an younger woman, the sugar baby, to date him. This practice is called "sugaring," or papa-katsu パパ活 in Japanese.

See enjo-kousai 援助交際 for details.

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